Special Issue "Model Lipid Membrane"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375). This special issue belongs to the section "Biological Membrane Dynamics and Computation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 7542

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Lucia Sessa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, 84084 Fisciano, SA, Italy
Interests: antimicrobials; molecular modelling; membranes; biomaterials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The roles of the plasma membrane in cellular protection and the control and transport of ions, nutrients, and a variety of small molecules through protein channels or processes such as diffusion and endocytosis are well known. Biological membranes have complex and varied compositions of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. All biological membranes contain lipid bilayers as their basic structural units in which lipids form the major component. Membrane proteins, the second major component of cell membranes, perform several functions and interact with a membrane in several ways. For example, proteins could be embedded in membranes, interact with only one membrane face, attach to the membrane through chemical groups, or associate with other membrane-bound proteins. However, the complexity of cell membranes in terms of lipid and protein composition and the difficulty of isolating them and maintaining their native physiological conditions makes it difficult to extract meaningful data to understand some membrane functions accurately.

For this reason, scientists often use model membranes that have very simplified structures and compositions. Model membranes can be used to understand the properties and functions of different components of biological membranes and how these components affect the properties of the membrane itself. Research on model lipid membranes is multidisciplinary and closely related to fields in cell biology, biophysics, and molecular and computational biology, which will contribute to our understanding of the properties and functions of different components of biological membranes.

For this Special Issue of Membranes, authors are invited to present their newest results, and both original papers and reviews related to the study of the behavior of proteins and lipids in a membrane, the structure and functions of different lipids, and the interactions of lipids with membrane proteins, drugs or other nanoparticles are welcome.

Dr. Lucia Sessa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Membranes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • protein—membrane interactions
  • molecular modeling
  • molecular dynamics (MD) simulation
  • membrane proteins
  • membrane peptides
  • membrane dynamics
  • membrane modeling and composition
  • membrane–drug interactions
  • probe membrane
  • LUV, GUV

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Cell-Type-Specific Profiling of the Arabidopsis thaliana Membrane Protein-Encoding Genes
Membranes 2022, 12(9), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12090874 - 10 Sep 2022
Viewed by 476
Abstract
Membrane proteins work in large complexes to perceive and transduce external signals and to trigger a cellular response leading to the adaptation of the cells to their environment. Biochemical assays have been extensively used to reveal the interaction between membrane proteins. However, such [...] Read more.
Membrane proteins work in large complexes to perceive and transduce external signals and to trigger a cellular response leading to the adaptation of the cells to their environment. Biochemical assays have been extensively used to reveal the interaction between membrane proteins. However, such analyses do not reveal the unique and complex composition of the membrane proteins of the different plant cell types. Here, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the expression of Arabidopsis membrane proteins in the different cell types composing the root. Specifically, we analyzed the expression of genes encoding membrane proteins interacting in large complexes. We found that the transcriptional profiles of membrane protein-encoding genes differ between Arabidopsis root cell types. This result suggests that different cell types are characterized by specific sets of plasma membrane proteins, which are likely a reflection of their unique biological functions and interactions. To further explore the complexity of the Arabidopsis root cell membrane proteomes, we conducted a co-expression analysis of genes encoding interacting membrane proteins. This study confirmed previously reported interactions between membrane proteins, suggesting that the co-expression of genes at the single cell-type level can be used to support protein network predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
The Role of Cholesterol in the Interaction of the Lipid Monolayer with the Endocrine Disruptor Bisphenol-A
Membranes 2022, 12(8), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12080729 - 23 Jul 2022
Viewed by 475
Abstract
Among pollutants of emerging concern, endocrine disruptors (ED) have been shown to cause side effects in humans and animals. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an ED by-product of the plastic industry and one of the chemicals with the highest volume produced yearly. Here, we studied [...] Read more.
Among pollutants of emerging concern, endocrine disruptors (ED) have been shown to cause side effects in humans and animals. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an ED by-product of the plastic industry and one of the chemicals with the highest volume produced yearly. Here, we studied the role of cholesterol in the BPA exposure effects over membrane models. We used Langmuir films of both neat lipid DPPC (1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine) and cholesterol (Chol) and a binary mixture containing DPPC/Chol, exposing it to BPA. We evaluate changes in the π-A isotherms and the PM–IRRAS (polarization modulation–infrared reflection adsorption spectroscopy) spectra. BPA exposure induced changes in the DPPC and Chol neat monolayers, causing mean molecular area expansion and altering profiles. However, at high surface pressure, the BPA was expelled from the air–water interface. For the DPPC/Chol mixture, BPA caused expansion throughout the whole compression, indicating that BPA is present at the monolayer interface. The PM–IRRAS analysis showed that BPA interacted with the phosphate group of DPPC through hydrogen bonding, which caused the area’s expansion. Such evidence might be biologically relevant to better understand the mechanism of action of BPA in cell membranes once phosphatidylcholines and Chol are found in mammalian membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
Seaweed and Dendritic Growth in Unsaturated Fatty Acid Monolayers
Membranes 2022, 12(7), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12070698 - 08 Jul 2022
Viewed by 783
Abstract
The lateral movement in lipid membranes depends on their diffusion constant within the membrane. However, when the flux of the subphase is high, the convective flow beneath the membrane also influences lipid movement. Lipid monolayers of an unsaturated fatty acid at the water–air [...] Read more.
The lateral movement in lipid membranes depends on their diffusion constant within the membrane. However, when the flux of the subphase is high, the convective flow beneath the membrane also influences lipid movement. Lipid monolayers of an unsaturated fatty acid at the water–air interface serve as model membranes. The formation of domains in the liquid/condensed coexistence region is investigated. The dimension of the domains is fractal, and they grow with a constant growth velocity. Increasing the compression speed of the monolayer induces a transition from seaweed growth to dendritic growth. Seaweed domains have broad tips and wide and variable side branch spacing. In contrast, dendritic domains have a higher fractal dimension, narrower tips, and small, well-defined side branch spacing. Additionally, the growth velocity is markedly larger for dendritic than seaweed growth. The domains’ growth velocity increases and the tip radius decreases with increasing supersaturation in the liquid/condensed coexistence region. Implications for membranes are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
Formation of a Fully Anionic Supported Lipid Bilayer to Model Bacterial Inner Membrane for QCM-D Studies
Membranes 2022, 12(6), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12060558 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 758
Abstract
Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) on quartz crystals are employed as versatile model systems for studying cell membrane behavior with the use of the highly sensitive technique of quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D). Since the lipids constituting cell membranes vary from predominantly [...] Read more.
Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) on quartz crystals are employed as versatile model systems for studying cell membrane behavior with the use of the highly sensitive technique of quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D). Since the lipids constituting cell membranes vary from predominantly zwitterionic lipids in mammalian cells to predominantly anionic lipids in the inner membrane of Gram-positive bacteria, the ability to create SLBs of different lipid compositions is essential for representing different cell membranes. While methods to generate stable zwitterionic SLBs and zwitterionic-dominant mixed zwitterionic–anionic SLBs on quartz crystals have been well established, there are no reports of being able to form predominantly or fully anionic SLBs. We describe here a method for forming entirely anionic SLBs by treating the quartz crystal with cationic (3-aminopropyl) trimethoxysilane (APTMS). The formation of the anionic SLB was tracked using QCM-D by monitoring the adsorption of anionic lipid vesicles to a quartz surface and subsequent bilayer formation. Anionic egg L-α-phosphatidylglycerol (PG) vesicles adsorbed on the surface-treated quartz crystal, but did not undergo the vesicle-to-bilayer transition to create an SLB. However, when PG was mixed with 10–40 mole% 1-palmitoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1′-rac-glycerol) (LPG), the mixed vesicles led to the formation of stable SLBs. The dynamics of SLB formation monitored by QCM-D showed that while SLB formation by zwitterionic lipids followed a two-step process of vesicle adsorption followed by the breakdown of the adsorbed vesicles (which in turn is a result of multiple events) to create the SLB, the PG/LPG mixed vesicles ruptured immediately on contacting the quartz surface resulting in a one-step process of SLB formation. The QCM-D data also enabled the quantitative characterization of the SLB by allowing estimation of the lipid surface density as well as the thickness of the hydrophobic region of the SLB. These fully anionic SLBs are valuable model systems to conduct QCM-D studies of the interactions of extraneous substances such as antimicrobial peptides and nanoparticles with Gram-positive bacterial membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
Infrared Spectroscopic Study of Multi-Component Lipid Systems: A Closer Approximation to Biological Membrane Fluidity
Membranes 2022, 12(5), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12050534 - 20 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
Membranes are essential to cellular organisms, and play several roles in cellular protection as well as in the control and transport of nutrients. One of the most critical membrane properties is fluidity, which has been extensively studied, using mainly single component systems. In [...] Read more.
Membranes are essential to cellular organisms, and play several roles in cellular protection as well as in the control and transport of nutrients. One of the most critical membrane properties is fluidity, which has been extensively studied, using mainly single component systems. In this study, we used Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to evaluate the thermal behavior of multi-component supported lipid bilayers that mimic the membrane composition of tumoral and non-tumoral cell membranes, as well as microorganisms such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus. The results showed that, for tumoral and non-tumoral membrane models, the presence of cholesterol induced a loss of cooperativity of the transition. However, in the absence of cholesterol, the transitions of the multi-component lipid systems had sigmoidal curves where the gel and fluid phases are evident and where main transition temperatures were possible to determine. Additionally, the possibility of designing multi-component lipid systems showed the potential to obtain several microorganism models, including changes in the cardiolipin content associated with the resistance mechanism in Staphylococcus aureus. Finally, the potential use of multi-component lipid systems in the determination of the conformational change of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 was studied. The results showed that LL-37 underwent a conformational change when interacting with Staphylococcus aureus models, instead of with the erythrocyte membrane model. The results showed the versatile applications of multi-component lipid systems studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
Effect of Protocatechuic Acid Ethyl Ester on Biomembrane Models: Multilamellar Vesicles and Monolayers
Membranes 2022, 12(3), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12030283 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
The interactions of drugs with cell membranes are of primary importance for several processes involved in drugs activity. However, these interactions are very difficult to study due to the complexity of biological membranes. Lipid model membranes have been developed and used to gain [...] Read more.
The interactions of drugs with cell membranes are of primary importance for several processes involved in drugs activity. However, these interactions are very difficult to study due to the complexity of biological membranes. Lipid model membranes have been developed and used to gain insight into drug–membrane interactions. In this study, the interaction of protocatechuic acid ethyl ester, showing radical-scavenging activity, antimicrobial, antitumor and anti-inflammatory effects, with model membranes constituted by multilamellar vesicles and monolayers made of DMPC and DSPC, has been studied. Differential scanning calorimetry and Langmuir–Blodgett techniques have been used. Protocatechuic acid ethyl ester interacted both with MLV and monolayers. However, a stronger interaction of the drug with DMPC-based model membranes has been obtained. The finding of this study could help to understand the protocatechuic acid ethyl ester action mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Article
Hydroxylated Fatty Acids: The Role of the Sphingomyelin Synthase and the Origin of Selectivity
Membranes 2021, 11(10), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11100787 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
Sphingolipids are a class of lipids acting as key modulators of many physiological and pathophysiological processes. Hydroxylation patterns have a major influence on the biophysical properties of sphingolipids. In this work, we have studied the mechanism of action of hydroxylated lipids in sphingomyelin [...] Read more.
Sphingolipids are a class of lipids acting as key modulators of many physiological and pathophysiological processes. Hydroxylation patterns have a major influence on the biophysical properties of sphingolipids. In this work, we have studied the mechanism of action of hydroxylated lipids in sphingomyelin synthase (SMS). The structures of the two human isoforms, SMS1 and SMS2, have been generated through neural network supported homology. Furthermore, we have elucidated the reaction mechanism that allows SMS to recover the choline head from a phosphocholine (PC) and transfer it to ceramide, and we have clarified the role of the hydroxyl group in the interaction with the enzyme. Finally, the effect of partial inhibition of SMS on the levels of PC and sphingomyelin was calculated for different rate constants solving ordinary differential equation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Review

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Review
Modeling Receptor Motility along Advecting Lipid Membranes
Membranes 2022, 12(7), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12070652 - 25 Jun 2022
Viewed by 430
Abstract
This work aims to overview multiphysics mechanobiological computational models for receptor dynamics along advecting cell membranes. Continuum and statistical models of receptor motility are the two main modeling methodologies identified in reviewing the state of the art. Within the former modeling class, a [...] Read more.
This work aims to overview multiphysics mechanobiological computational models for receptor dynamics along advecting cell membranes. Continuum and statistical models of receptor motility are the two main modeling methodologies identified in reviewing the state of the art. Within the former modeling class, a further subdivision based on different biological purposes and processes of proteins’ motion is recognized; cell adhesion, cell contractility, endocytosis, and receptor relocations on advecting membranes are the most relevant biological processes identified in which receptor motility is pivotal. Numerical and/or experimental methods and approaches are highlighted in the exposure of the reviewed works provided by the literature, pertinent to the topic of the present manuscript. With a main focus on the continuum models of receptor motility, we discuss appropriate multiphyisics laws to model the mass flux of receptor proteins in the reproduction of receptor relocation and recruitment along cell membranes to describe receptor–ligand chemical interactions, and the cell’s structural response. The mass flux of receptor modeling is further supported by a discussion on the methodology utilized to evaluate the protein diffusion coefficient developed over the years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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Review
Deciphering the Assembly of Enveloped Viruses Using Model Lipid Membranes
Membranes 2022, 12(5), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12050441 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
The cell plasma membrane is mainly composed of phospholipids, cholesterol and embedded proteins, presenting a complex interface with the environment. It maintains a barrier to control matter fluxes between the cell cytosol and its outer environment. Enveloped viruses are also surrounded by a [...] Read more.
The cell plasma membrane is mainly composed of phospholipids, cholesterol and embedded proteins, presenting a complex interface with the environment. It maintains a barrier to control matter fluxes between the cell cytosol and its outer environment. Enveloped viruses are also surrounded by a lipidic membrane derived from the host-cell membrane and acquired while exiting the host cell during the assembly and budding steps of their viral cycle. Thus, model membranes composed of selected lipid mixtures mimicking plasma membrane properties are the tools of choice and were used to decipher the first step in the assembly of enveloped viruses. Amongst these viruses, we choose to report the three most frequently studied viruses responsible for lethal human diseases, i.e., Human Immunodeficiency Type 1 (HIV-1), Influenza A Virus (IAV) and Ebola Virus (EBOV), which assemble at the host-cell plasma membrane. Here, we review how model membranes such as Langmuir monolayers, bicelles, large and small unilamellar vesicles (LUVs and SUVs), supported lipid bilayers (SLBs), tethered-bilayer lipid membranes (tBLM) and giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) contribute to the understanding of viral assembly mechanisms and dynamics using biophysical approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Lipid Membrane)
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